New York Top Court Sides with Fantasy Operators, DFS Not Gambling

Betting companies and gaming operators in New York secured another victory on Tuesday after the State Court of Appeals sided with FanDuel and DraftKings, agreeing that the fantasy contests that these two – and other – operators run, are perfectly legal and allowed under the Empire State constitution.

DFS Not a Game of Chance

Last year, an appeals court ruled against fantasy sports and argued that by allowing fantasy contests, companies had violated constitutional rules and the then existing ban on gambling. A win in this case is important for several factors. First, there are purely financial terms for the state. Even though sports betting is now fully legal, fantasy contests are still an option for many punters.

In fact, fantasy contests generate hundreds of millions in entrance fees all across New York, which makes for a hefty payday to businesses and by extension – the state. The completed lawsuit is now finally over, and it did not object to mobile gaming in its current form – mostly because the offensive against fantasy sports began several years back and mobile betting became a reality in February.

However, the court had a close ruling in the case, with the vote “for” passing with a 4-3 ruling, just narrowly it seems. However, chief judge Janet DiFiore argued that the accusations against fantasy operators were not sustained as fantasy sports qualified as skill-based competitions, which are exempt under constitutional rules.

In this case, fantasy sports are about sports DiFiore argued, and pointed to the fact that participants would need to use their understanding and knowledge in the matter to assemble teams and use that knowledge to leverage better results in the long-term.

The lawsuit is a remnant from the times when Gov. Andrew Cuomo was governor. However, despite Cuomo’s opposition to sports betting in general, even he, a hardliner on the issue, agreed that DraftKings and FanDuel should be allowed to run fantasy sports in the Empire State – was Cuomo a fantasy sports fan? We don’t know.

Fantasy Sports Operators Welcome the News

The news was welcomed by both DraftKings and FanDuel which saw in the decision a fair ruling which allows them to keep scaling their business offer in the Empire State. FanDuel issued a statement in which it welcomed the ruling:

“New York state is FanDuel’s home and our New York customers have enjoyed playing daily fantasy for years. We are pleased that New Yorkers will continue to have access to fantasy sports contests.”


The lawsuit was originally brought on by Stop Predatory Gambling which found fantasy contests to be circumnavigating a ban on gambling in the state. However, fantasy operators argued that their contests were a game of skill rather than chance. New York is meanwhile planning to introduce an iGaming bill that could see interactive casinos become part of the landscape.

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